News 31 Oct 12

Holland Stays Closed to Bulgarian, Romanian Workers

The Netherlands has decided to keep restrictions on Bulgarian and Romanian workers in its labour market until 2014.


The agreement is the result of a political deal between Dutch parties reached before Monday, when they outlined their plans for government.

The section dealing with immigration and integration says that restrictions on workers from Bulgaria and Romania will only be lifted in 2014. 

Meanwhile the residency requirement to vote in Dutch elections will increase from five to seven years.

Immigrants will also be excluded from welfare for the first seven years of their residency in Holland, while the residency requirement for nationalization will increase from five to seven years. 

The Netherlands was one of ten EU member states that last summer announced it was keeping job restrictions on citizens of Bulgaria and Romania, which joined the EU in 2007.

The others were Belgium, Germany, Ireland, France, Italy, Luxembourg, Austria, the UK and Malta.

At the beginning of the year Italy lifted all restrictions for the access of Bulgarian and Romanian workers to its labour market.

Germany opened its doors to Bulgarian seasonal workers and people with higher educational degrees.

In October, France eased access to its labour market for Bulgarians and Romanians, dropping the restrictions for jobs in sectors where employers find it hard to recruit staff.

The restrictive regime onBulgarians and Romanians cannot be extended beyond than January 1, 2014.

Switzerland, which is not in the EU, may retain restrictions until May 31, 2016.

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